The BridgeAthletic Building Block Series is a set of 5 exercises that can be modified for swimmers of all levels to perform on pooldeck.
This Series requires a medball (MB). The weight of the MB is important – don’t just grab one that happens to be lying around or closest to you. Factors that influence the weight selection include skill-level, dryland/weight room experience, program phase and how you plan to use this Series – warmup, activation or main set.
Start standing in the squat position with the MB placed on the floor evenly between your feet. Keeping your chest up, squat down to pick the ball up. This is not like a kettlebell swing. This is a squatting movement, not a hinging movement, so keep your chest up and hips low as you pick up the MB. Your hips need to be at least at knee-level or below. With straight arms pick the MB up.
In a smooth movement raise the MB up keeping your arms straight as you stand up. Work on the timing of the movement. The MB should be overhead as you return to the start position of the squat. Pause. Work on a smooth, controlled movement as you return the MB to the ground. Pause. Without letting go of the MB repeat for prescribed reps.
A great progression from a regular pushup and applicable to almost all training environments. Adding unilateral and instability components to the pushup movement emphasizes shoulder and core stability more than a regular pushup does.
Note – this is a progression from the regular pushup, so do not attempt this without having mastered the pushup and at least the kneeling version of this exercise.
Start kneeling and place the MB under one hand, with the other hand placed below your shoulder on the ground. Once the MB is stable, press up off the floor, raising your knees, into a pushup position. In this position, perform the same movement as you would for a regular pushup. With the MB under one hand, move slowly to acclimate yourself to the instability of the ball. Perform the prescribed reps for one arm then switch the MB to the other hand and repeat for prescribed reps.
The MB RDL is a good teaching tool for developing athletes to learn the hinging movement before loading them with a kettlebell or barbell. We also like to use it with athletes who struggle with hamstring flexibility.
Start with feet hip-width apart, toes forward, slight bend in the knees and holding the MB comfortably in front of you. Keeping your back flat, hinge at the hip to take the MB toward the ground. Keep your arms relaxed and MB close to your legs during the movement. Work on range of motion until your technique breaks down, pause, then return slowly to the start position without locking your knees out.
We like to use the MB Throwdown to add a ballistic component to the workout.
Note – pay attention to the MB on the rebound. Avoid bending at the waist and following through with your chest and face. Stay upright and emphasize the midsection contraction and your arms on the follow-through.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart holding the MB at chest height with both hands. Reach up overhead with the MB extending up on to your toes as you do so. At full extension, contract your midsection to initiate the movement and start the arm swing down to throw the MB against the ground. As previously noted, remain as upright as possible instead of folding in half and taking your chest to the ground. Work on the coordination and fluency of the movement. Be quick and powerful, but not mechanical and forceful. Catch the MB, regain control, then repeat for prescribed reps.
The MB Front Bridge is another way to add some variety to the mix. The Front Bridge is an important exercise in all facets of an athlete’s journey, but it can get very monotonous and boring. Adding in the MB creates some diversity in the program, as well as complexity and instability in the movement.
To start, place the MB close to your feet. Set your forearms and hands on the ground as you would for a Front Bridge. With your knees on the ground, place your toes on the MB. When you have stabilized, brace through your midsection and press into the floor with your hands and forearms to raise your knees off the ground. Avoid letting the MB roll away or destabilize you. Hold form for the prescribed time.
Start with shorter intervals to hold perfect form, then gradually increase time maintaining this form.
We hope you enjoy this full-body MB series.
BridgeAthletic works with elite professional, collegiate, and club swimming programs to provide a turnkey solution for dryland training. Led by Nick Folker, the top swimming strength and conditioning coach in the world, our team builds stroke-specific, custom-optimized dryland programs for each of our clients. The individualized workouts are delivered directly to athletes via our state of the art technology platform and mobile applications. Check Nick and BridgeAthletic out as recently featured in SwimSwam.
Nick Folker is the Co-Founder and Director of Elite Performance at BridgeAthletic. Nick’s athletes have won 22 Olympic Medals, 7 team NCAA Championships and over 170 individual and relay NCAA championships. Megan Fischer-Colbrie works as the Sports Science Editor at BridgeAthletic. Megan was a four-year varsity swimmer at Stanford, where she recently graduated with a degree in Human Biology.
The Championship Series by BridgeAthletic is designed to empower athletes with tips from the pros that will help them reach peak performance come race day. We will be covering competition-focused topics such as nutrition, recovery, stretching, and mental preparation.
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